SWTOR Beta Impressions Part 1

Posted: November 19, 2011 in Gaming, SWTOR
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Star Wars The Old Republic NDA was lifted, and the internet exploded. There is a ton of awesome information and videos coming out of the huge circle of fan sites and live streamers. I was only able to get my first hands on with SWTOR this past weekend. I’ve been chomping at the bit to be able to share my awesome experience with the game. Thank you Bioware for lifting the NDA. You guys rock. Let’s see if I can get through this without any spoilers. Here we go.

So I’ll start talking about the graphics and the overall look of the game. When I first saw the stylized graphics during the early reveals I wasn’t sure if I liked it. As time progressed they definitely polished up the look quite a bit. I am very happy with the look of the game now. My PC was running the game with almost all settings at max and the environments and characters looked spectacular. I found myself at one point not even questing, just running around exploring Dromund Kaas. Really awesome environments. A lot to see. The highest level character I had was a level 14 Sith Sorcerer so I only got to explore, Korriban, Dromund Kaas and a bit of Balmora.

A lot of people are up in arms about the space combat in the game. I don’t know why. The space combat for me is a secondary part to the game. It’s a mini game put in as something else to do while leveling. The complaint that a lot of people have is the rail shooter aspect to it. That means that it automatically flies your ship’s course while you worry about dodging fire and blowing things up. Yes you can do a barrel roll. I had a lot of fun with the space combat. Locking missiles on a few targets and letting them loose taking out multiple targets at once is just an awesome feeling. If they choose to evolve the space combat in the future it would be cool but I have no complaints at all about its current incarnation.

From the fan site summit a few months back I heard mixed opinions about how the combat felt. Last weekend one of my goals was to try different types of combat and see how it all felt. I mixed it up a bit and played a Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor and Imperial Agent. They each have their own style and gave me a good sample of different types of combat the game has to offer. I actually thought the combat was fun and fast paced. With the Sith Warrior being able to leap right into a mob and massacre the poor bastards was pretty epic. Got finished a few of those fights by the skin of my teeth and some I bit off a bit more than I could chew. At one point I figured, “Hey. I got this.” and pulled 3 groups thinking that I could just tear my way through them. Wrong. Got my ass handed to me. It was hilarious. The Sith Inquisitor is considerably more squishy than the Warrior so I tried to not pull as many. I found I was able to mix it up with my force lightning and my melee attacks pretty well and stay alive. The Imperial Agent is not as squishy as the Inquisitor but I found myself looking at the fights from a more tactical viewpoint. Before engaging an enemy I would scope out the area and spot where I would be able to take cover and possible fall back points if I needed. Combat for all three classes felt very different and I really like that. Something in the game to fit different play styles or for me who is a raging altoholic, unique experiences to fit whatever mood I may be in. So having briefly tasted some of the different types of combat that SWTOR has to offer I enjoyed it all. Looking forward to exploring the combat further in the upcoming beta weekend.

Now I get to the hard part. I’m sure the final version of this part of the post will be edited, scrapped and rewritten a bunch of times. I want to talk about the story without revealing or spoiling anything for anyone. Here we go. Bioware is known for writing very epic story lines into their games. From KOTOR, to Dragon Age and Mass Effect they have proven themselves to be very worthy storytellers. SWTOR is no exception. From the classes that I did get the chance to level up and experience the story for, it was amazing. Two two that I spent the most time with were the Imperial Agent and Sith Inquisitor.

The one “reveal” I will say about the Sith Inquisitor storyline which has been stated a hundred times over on many sites is that you begin the story as a slave. Which causes many at the Sith Academy to underestimate you and treat you like crap. So you have to set out and prove to them that you are the real deal. The companion you get first as the Inquisitor is Khem Val. A big ass alien who loves to eat people. He will ask you more than once if you’d like him to dispose of someone you are in a conversation with by killing and eating them. It’s hilarious. When you get him he’s practically naked so I can’t wait to get a companion kit for him so he can cover himself up. Hopefully before I get to Hoth because well, its damn cold. I love healing in MMOs and so I chose Sith Sorcerer as my Advanced class. I had reached up to level 14 and had a couple of heals and was able to do pretty well in the one flashpoint that I ran with some friends. I was still also to deal a decent amount of damage while doing quests. Having Khem Val as my companion helped a bit. Inquisitors are pretty squishy but Khem Val is a pretty solid tank which allowed me to stand back keep him healed and blast the crap out of things with my force lightning. Epic. A comment made in the Trooper VS Inquisitor video mentions that you can be a mastermind which I can totally see. I’ve only scratched the surface of the story and it definitely has a twisting plot full of deceit and treachery early on. I can only imagine how much more intense the rest of it will be. I was playing dark side during the beta but once it goes live I haven’t decided what I’ll do. I have heard that one of the hardest things to play in the game is a light side inquisitor. Which from the small amount that I saw I can totally see. Seems like it would be very interesting. I’ll see how I feel once I get into live.

The Imperial Agent gives you the opportunity to play a spy type character. Early on you are assigned to infiltrate a criminal organization for the Empire under a stolen identity. This story also had a lot of cool little twists and I really enjoyed the Rattataki companion you get early on. Kaliyo is a pretty self-confident and witty companion that I loved having around. I totally felt that with her at my side we could take over the galaxy. I didn’t get as far into the story on this character as I did on my Inquisitor but I was definitely interested in seeing where the story was heading. When you are finished on Hutta, where you begin as Agent or Bounty Hunter, you head to Dromund Kaas which is the Imperial equivalent to Coruscant. There you get to report to Imperial Intelligence HQ. Bad ass companion. Check. Path to becoming bad ass Imperial super spy. Check. This is gonna be awesome. I haven’t played much past that but I chose my advanced class to be sniper because well… I love being a sniper. The other AC Operative does look really wicked as well. That one has closer range and stealth capabilities where the sniper is a very strong long-range class. My time with this class really has me sold on it. I was unsure of what my second character in live would be after my Sith Inquisitor but at this point I am heavily leaning towards Imperial Agent – Sniper. It was a lot of fun to play and I was having fun with the cover system and the long-range attacks. I was able to take out multiple groups of enemies at times while strategically working with the cover mechanic and keeping them at a distance. I’m sure there’s even more at higher levels but there was enough abilities to deal with anyone that got a bit too close.

Those were really the only two classes that I spent a substantial amount of time with to really be able to form a solid opinion about. I did dabble a bit with the Sith Warrior and it was looking pretty awesome but he was only up to about level 5 or 6. I was at the point with him where I was about to get his first companion Vette. A sassy Twi’Lek that, come the live game I will torture in hopes that she will cry. My Sith Warrior will definitely be played dark side. Ever since I heard a comment from one of the devs a while back saying that there is a Sith Warrior companion that will spend the entire time on the ship crying because of how you treat them. I will be treating them all like meat bags in hopes of figuring out which one it is. Once I do, I will still treat them all like crap because he’s the biggest big bad the galaxy has ever known. Plus it should be fun. Really looking forward to the torture.. uh I mean story line for the Sith Warrior.

I apologize if some of this seems all over the place and erratic but I did have to do some serious editing to keep it spoiler free. Seems like a good place to stop there. I’ll surely make another post after the next beta weekend. I may even do another later this week touching on a few things that I didn’t get to here. I’ll hopefully be able to hop into some PvP so I can give you my impressions about that. I’ve only seen videos and live streams so far and I must say…. Huttball looks REALLY fun. Stoked to get into that. Also I didn’t really get much time to spend on Flashpoints so hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that as well. So far I must say that everything I have had the chance to get hands on with in SWTOR has lived up to or exceeded my expectations. Very eagerly looking forward to launch.

Be sure to check out some of the great resources and fan sites out there. Darth Hater just launched their database for SWTOR. Darth Hater is one of my favorite sites to check out for information on the game. They are pretty good at keeping us up to date all the breaking news and have links to a lot of other quality fan sites to check out. Also there’s GamebreakerTV which has a weekly show called The Republic where they discuss the game. Now that the NDA is lifted there should be a TON for them to talk about on this Mondays episode. They also put up an episode Friday after the NDA was lifted talking about fan site summit that happened a few weeks back and a few other videos throughout the day including a BFF report with Mike B AKA Fony and a look at the class/race combinations. Be sure to check it out. A lot of great stuff.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.


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